Weight Loss Support - Weight loss and exercise: What works and what doesn't?

06-19-2009, 04:21 PM
I found this great article & thought I would share! :hug:



A lot of people are told they can expect to lose up to two pounds of fat each week with a program of regular aerobic exercise.

Some do. But a lot of people fail to see anything in the way of meaningful results, even after months of trying.

It's easy to think the problem lies with you. Is it because your metabolism is slow? Are you getting older and burning calories at a slower rate? Is it in your genes? You stick to the program, and still you don't lose any weight.

What's going on?

If you're not losing weight, it's probably not your age, your metabolism, or your genetics that are causing the problem. It's simply the fact that conventional aerobic exercise programs are not a particularly effective way to drop the pounds.

06-19-2009, 04:47 PM
Thank you for the very informative post. I admit I got a bit discourage when reading it, especially when it mentions oxygen consumption and its relation to the amount of calories you actually burn when performing aerobic exercise. It helps me to realize that all factors come into play when dealing with weight loss. If I want to see results I can't slack off in any area, especially my diet.

06-19-2009, 04:49 PM
It's always helpful if you post the source of the article, and better still if you just post a little of it and then include a link to the full article. As you post it, it's interesting, but I would know more about the validity of the findings if I knew who did the studies and who wrote the article and where it was published. :)

06-19-2009, 05:36 PM
well, I guess you can look at it that the time you're on the treadmill or any other machine is time your not consuming calories!

aerobic has really helped with my stamina, and just making me feel healthier. plus, I do think it gives me more incentive to eat healthier, stick to my diet, and makes me feel better mentally. helps with circulation too, bwt.

I have found that sticking to my eating program is a really important part of the equation. doing the exercise and still overdoing it on the calories keeps me maintaining and not losing.

06-19-2009, 05:56 PM
I would also like to see the source of the article.

All I know is that when I was doing aerobic (elliptical and treadmill) regularly I felt great, had more stamina, tons of energy, lost weight, and did notice a difference in my body shape. I stopped exercising, got lazy, and gained all my weight back. I'm now back at the gym doing 60 to 90 minutes, 6 days a week. I feel great, I'm losing weight, and today while walking up the stairs my honey said that my tushie was showing a nice shape. That gives me all the motivation I need to stick with aerobics.

06-19-2009, 06:26 PM
Found it by googling a key phrase: http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/articles/aerobicexercise.htm

Alana in Canada
06-19-2009, 06:26 PM
Oh for heavens sake.

You may have lost only two pounds or something more with the exercise: but fewer of those pounds will be from your muscles that the dieting only group. Good grief.

Our bodies were built to move. There are so many benefits to exercise that it's ridiculous NOT to do it.

Did the studies follow people all the way to goal? Did they study them for a year (or more) it takes to get there? Sure you'll lose weight on a low calorie diet--if you're 240lbs and eat say 1500 calories a day--there's a deficit just walking around your house!

But what happens 6 months down the road? Can you create a calorie deficit then? Without exercise?

My goodness. I can't believe I'm upset by a stupid little article!

06-19-2009, 06:51 PM
Another point to ponder - it may be that exercise doesn't do much for WEIGHT LOSS, as compared to diet. BUT in terms of health and your risk of dying, you're better off (more likely to live longer and free of chronic disease) if you're overweight and physically fit, as opposed to thin and not fit.

06-19-2009, 07:00 PM
Gawd. First of all, these studies are including people who are working out "in the fat burning zone" (i.e. low intensity) 3x/wk for 20 minutes...well yeah, that's not going to get you very far.

Second of all he says combining diet and exercise resulted in a loss of only an extra 3lbs over a period of time compared to dieting alone. Then he goes on to say that to lose at a "reasonable" rate you have to burn 1000 a day, which is not realistic. Ok, I take issue with "reasonable" rate, as I'm sure most ppl on here do...when we lose .5lb in a week I think most of us consider that "reasonable", if not fantastic, and a whole # is good! So if you cut 500 calories out of your diet and work out for 500 calories (which is not unrealistic for a lot of people), you're losing weight twice as fast as diet alone! A 350 calorie work out, like the one described in the article, is nothing to turn your nose up at, but it's not the hardest workout in the world, either.

I know I'm totally preaching to the choir here, but grr. There is another woman who has a book out right now about how exercise is ineffective and you just need to diet. i think it might be the same woman who came up with "intuitive eating". It's just another fad.

06-19-2009, 07:21 PM
Gosh, doesn't everyone already KNOW that exercise alone doesn't work for losing weight? :chin:


Alana in Canada
06-19-2009, 07:48 PM
It breaks my heart, Jay, but sadly, no. My sister (who is about 20 years younger than I--and we rarely see each other) is using exercise alone to try and lose weight. She probably weighs as much as I did at my starting weight, though I can't be sure. However, I doubt she's losing: I was also told she spent $450.00 on Domino's pizza last month.

It's a shame. She spent a ton of money on some program a few years ago and lost more than 100 lbs--using a combination of diet and exercise. She regained because of a pregnancy that forced bed-rest.

I don't know where she got the idea that exercise alone will do it. I actually think she's in denial--but it's not my call, unfortunately.

06-19-2009, 10:54 PM
I think this article is an advertisement. Did anyone notice this at the end of the article:

"The bottom line
Although it comes as a surprise to many, the majority of research shows that aerobic exercise in the so-called "fat burning zone" is not a very effective way to lose fat.

That's not to say that cardio is a waste of time. Interval training, or the type of cardio recommended by Tom Venuto in Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle, is another story entirely..."

06-20-2009, 08:08 AM
I hear you, Alana. I tried that once myself--the exercise-alone approach. Gosh, I got more fit, but I was a fit fat person, and my goal had been to lose weight... :p

I am certain that $450 a month on pizza could crash any intentions... :fr: What can she be thinking? Never mind... I know...

Wannabe, I think it's an ad also, although I'm not sure what the writer is selling. The book is a pretty good one, I hear, so I doubt it's that...

My trainer at the gym has me doing "fat burning" sessions on the treadmill once or twice a week, along with interval training in between. My pulse rate for fat burning is ridiculously low. But, my own experience has been that those sessions work fine. Obviously, I am also restricting calories.

Anyway, I hope those that think exercise by itself is the answer have seen that it's not!


06-20-2009, 01:10 PM
Hi all!

The facts as presented in the article have been pretty much flogged to death and can be summarized as follows:

Diet accounts for 80% of how you look: exercise for the other 20%. Cutting calories accounts for the bulk of weight loss. You can't exercise off the pounds unless your diet is in check. Conclusion: if you want to lose the pounds, you have to watch your diet. BUT the associated inference is that you don't need exercise because it is of minimal assistance in losing weight. And THIS is where I have some difficulty...

The BIG problem with this article is that there is a lack of connection between lifestyle change, weight loss maintenance, and exercise. The assumption that exercise is soley for the purpose of weight loss. If I exercise, how much MORE will I lose? It ignores the factors of weight maintenance, overall cardiovascular health, balance and bone density gains and benefits of improved muscular strength and flexibility.

I think all successful "losers" and maintainers have incorporated exercise into their lives. And articles such as these really detract from the overwhelming importance of exercise to weight loss maintenance and overall health. If you want to lose the pounds, there is no doubt that diet alone will do it. If you want to change your shape and transform your life and keep the pounds off, you need to incorporate exercise into your life.

Again, another example of dubious research...sigh...promoted by a website that requires membership to view their "earth shattering NEW research" about fat loss, diet plans, and exercise. (click on the link posted above and then click on HOME to see exactly what this site is about...)



Mrs Snark
06-20-2009, 01:33 PM
People can lose weight and maintain without exercise. But that doesn't mean that exercise isn't beneficial for a whole host of reasons, including helping to create a calorie deficit.

06-20-2009, 08:05 PM
Articles like this just make me a bit sad... mostly because the fact that they discourage people from exercising who are just looking for someone to tell them its not worth it.

Most of the successful people in weight loss that I know of include some form of aerobic exercise. While it's true that alone it usually isn't a cure all, but if you include it where you actually raise your HR enough to burn some calories, it's going to accelerate your weight loss. In my case it doubles my weight loss for the most part. But I'm not afraid to work up a sweat either. :)

If all you do is leisurely stroll and window shop... yeah it's not going to help all that much. If your very overweight then walking IS going to get your heart rate up enough to burn some fairly good calories.

It also helps offset when you do have a bump in the road as far as diet goes. You have more leeway for mistakes... and then all the other benefits.

We all know muscle rocks but there is place for both in a balanced life.

07-10-2009, 10:15 AM
I'm just now starting to get back to my exercise routine, full time, and I am finding each day that I feel better, have more energy (maybe too much at times), my attitude is up, and I'm making goals that I wish to accomplish. This after only a week of getting back to things. I have issues sticking to a routine, for some reason that is one of my main issues. Besides that I do feel better, not sure how much weight I've lost as I'm currently working out my diet. Also exercise makes me feel more active, thus I'm wanting to go do things.

I do think you can just exercise and loose weight. I think that because I've done it in the past without changing my diet. My activity level and exercise level was up and that meant I burned a lot of calories, thus I lost weight. Loosing weight wasn't an issue, it was keeping it off. Since I didn't change my lifestyle I couldn't maintain the weight loss as my activity level started to go back to the way it was before my weight loss. So, yes one can loose weight with just exercise, but can they keep it off and maintain it? I don't think they can unless their diet was already along the lines of "healthy" to begin with.

Funny thing is, I've found that I've lost the most weight by being active. Meaning outside, doing things, walking, and eating well. I think exercise is important for me though. I sit in a computer chair for a large part of the day, trying to break that habit by being more up and about, and I find I get more success that way along with exercise.

07-10-2009, 11:24 AM
I agree with others that exercise in some form is important to weight loss.

On a side note, Jacquie668, I love your avatar, you are very pretty :)

07-10-2009, 11:34 AM
Well, to play devil's advocate here, the article isn't saying that people should not exercise, it has stated quite a few times that the combination has other benefits. (sorry, I'm a 3rd year psych major and we've had to conduct our own experiments/research - but if there are any professionals reading this please correct me b/c this is good exercise for me)

I think if anything, the article just supports that diet is the most important aspect of losing weight, and doing cardio alone isn't going to increase weight loss as significantly as people hoped. I'd rather underestimate how effective my exercise routine is than overestimate, which in turn can lead to slacking off in the diet aspect. BUT, this study was solely aimed at studying the effects of adding a moderate cardio routine to a diet, and NOT to study the health benefits but to study the weight loss benefits, so they aren't going to publish more than what their conclusion was about their hypothesis. Hypotheses are usually very specific because to if you are trying to study more than dependent variable, it becomes costly and more complex - the experiment is not as effective and too many other variables can come in. The study did not test metabolic rate or anything like that, but they do refer to another study they've conducted that has concluded something else - this isn't PART of the main study, however, so the other study would require it's own analysis. I think they threw that in there to show that there has been another study that supports why cardio alone isn't as effective as some people do expect more benefit B/C of their beliefs in metabolic rate - still, this isn't part of THIS particular experiment. Also the part about the EPOC - they throw all these in to make a case against the notions that people have traditionally held about cardio, which may be misleading. I don't think that is discouraging, I'd rather get to the truth of things and in general, I do believe this to be true - I don't follow the machine readouts and I have read about the complexity of calorie-burning - still, this isn't part of the experiment itself.

The experiment wasn't aimed to study the effects of cardio, in say, its effects on cholesterol or something like that. Actually, the article even went beyond presenting its facts and even stated at the bottom that the study isn't to discourage people from cardio, that instead of they do a combination of diet + cardio + resistance training, and within cardio alone kick up the notch, then its effects on weight loss increase. This isn't based on their study, but unlike metabolic rate which is still largely unknown, there have been enough studies that have consistently shown the significance in weight loss by combining cardio and resistance training along with diet.

So, to look at this study, it isn't meant to study the health benefits of cardio, and that's fine - that's something that has been well-established - the article did not suggest that there were not any health benefits, the study was set out to test the effectiveness in weight loss alone with cardio. If someone would like to learn about the health benefits, there are other studies that have tested that out.

It has also been known that 30-40 minutes of cardio 3-4 days a week is what doctors recommend to stay in shape, stay healthy, and to maintain weight, but I've heard and read in other studies is that to LOSE more weight, it is recommended to do at least 40-60 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week - and that's just cardio, I'm sure everyone here knows that adding resistance training makes weight loss more effective. I don't see any inconsistencies in that area, and even then, it was not part of the study to conclude whether 30-40 minutes of moderate-intense cardio 3-4 times a week has more significance in weight-loss vs 50-60 minutes of mod-intense cardio, say, the same amount. In this case, the effects being studied would be the increase in minutes spent each time, but not the number of days b/c that would add more complexity and it wouldn't be conclusive whether it is the time spent at once or the number of days or which one added more significance, but this has been studied before..

The important extraneous variables I would ask about in this experiment is if all the participants stuck to their diets rigidly - if the diets were customized to each participant or there was a general diet, stuff like that requires its own experiment and hypothesis.. But to eliminate this potential problem, they also had another control group where the participants were just doing cardio alone. In both cases with cardio, the weight loss significance was not as great - if there was a discrepancy, and a huge difference, then we'd have a problem on our hands b/c the only variable that should be measured is cardio and to have a discrepancy would mean something was done wrong or other variables were not taken into consideration during the experiment.

I don't think the aim of this study was to discourage people, if that was the case then I'd be worrying about experimenter bias and this study wouldn't mean a thing - but assuming that it has gone through approval to get published, the study was only aimed at the degree of significance in weight loss (the dependent variable, the measure), and what effects cardio (independent variable, what is being studied). The article only suggests that there isn't enough of a statistical significance to conclude that cardio, within the context that was tested, is enough to greatly increase weight loss. What happens if we kick it up a notch? Instead of 30-40 minutes, how about.. 50 minutes at 5-6 days a week?

That's not what the experiment studied, but at the end of the article, it does state that there are other ways to increase cardio's effectiveness on weight loss, and throws in another variable that could warrant its own experiment - resistance training - but that isn't part of the study, and if they decided to conclude that resistance training + cardio + diet was more effective, then this would be a different experiment altogether, and I'd be worried at their integrity scientifically to conclude something within the context of this study when it has not been tested... but they do suggest that other studies support this, it is implied that it is up to the readers to look up information on this, as this is something different altogether, but again, most people already know that most studies have supported that resistance training combined with cardio is also much more effective in weight loss than cardio alone..

Also, to study the effects of combining exercise with diet and the dieter's willpower, motivation, mood, or other psychological effects would warrant its own experiment. Also, keep in mind that to eliminate more of the extraneous variables that could affect these results, they really WOULD need to test maaany more people in order to dilute it more and add more support to generalizability (hm, that IS a word), so looking at this at face value, it doesn't contradict anything I've read or learned so far about weight loss, and it certainly does not conclude anything to contradict health benefits (that would be another experiment altogether). Looking at it for what it is, this experiment has not concluded anything that is contrary to what has been supported or indicated by other studies.
I think the title of the thread, no offense, is misleading b/c the study does not offer what works/what does not, just the specific significance in cardio with regards to weight loss.

07-10-2009, 11:37 AM
You'll notice the article says they lost only x amount of lbs. of fat but not how much lean muscle they gained. If they measured the participants I bet the ones who dieted and exercised lost more inches than those who only dieted.

07-10-2009, 12:10 PM
Ugh, anyone else SCUBA dive? I just read this part from the article:

"The most reliable way to assess energy expenditure during exercise is to measure oxygen consumption. Each liter of oxygen that you consume generates approximately five calories of energy. For example, if you exercise for 30 minutes and consume 30 liters of oxygen, you'll have burned 150 calories."

And realized that I'm always the diver with the most oxygen left at the end of a dive! On the boat, it's something to be proud of, but I guess it also means I have the worst metabolism. I've noticed old people diving don't use a lot of O2 either.

07-10-2009, 02:34 PM
I agree with others that exercise in some form is important to weight loss.

On a side note, Jacquie668, I love your avatar, you are very pretty :)

Side note: TY and I love your avatar and your picture threads! You're a real inspiration to me and others! :carrot: :D

07-10-2009, 03:37 PM
lol...i really hate it when people take a study out of context. I usually just read it for myself if I see one posted. Alot of times I am amazed that the poster completely ignored the A) goals of the study B) conclusions of the study. But just picked out something to support an idea they want to promote. It actually looks silly.

I have heard optimal oxygen intake is particularly beneficial to weight loss--think about it. There is aerobic and aneorobic exercise. Anaerobic or lactic pathway does not require oxygen to make energy. Aerobic does. If you are doing cardio and you are breathless continuously--you have just made an aerobic exercise anaerobic. At anaerobic levels you burn mostly glucose--not fat. However, the best anaerobic exercise--weight lifting--helps you burn more fat in the long run. Muscle requires LOTS AND LOTS of ATP. (energy)